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Leadtek WinFast PX7800GT TDH myVIVO Extreme 256MB, Leadtek WinFast Duo PX6600GT TDH Extreme 256MB
Based on NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT, 6600 GT

October 27, 2005








TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. Video card's features
  3. Testbed configurations, benchmarks
  4. Test results
  5. Conclusions



End of May, beginning of June... Computex, looking forward to the new products from NVIDIA... As well as to summer and all sorts of pleasures it's associated with.

It's all over now, the summer galloped by, merrily waving a hand, and ran away to get ready for the new offensive in the Southern Hemisphere. And we have a long perspective of rains, slosh, snowfalls, rains again, ice, and other joys of winter (some people will really enjoy it, others won't). To make up for it, the lull in 3D accelerators is coming to an end. New announcements from ATI are round the corner (we shall not touch upon them yet), the shelves are filled with products based on NVIDIA chips, manufactured in summer.

Yep, it's a paradox - all 7800GTX cards disappeared in Moscow, when this article was written. If it isn't a new crisis with deficit we had already witnessed a year ago with the 6800 Ultra? According to manufacturers, there is no deficit. Retailers just failed to estimate the demand correctly and imported insufficient goods by the beginning of the new sales season.

However, in summer we witnessed high demand for the GeForce 7800 GTX (relatively high, of course!), despite the lull in business activities and the desire of many potential buyers to go to the seaside instead of spending money on upgrades. At the beginning of September the demand jumped up.

And the demand for the cheaper product based on GeForce 7800 GT became fantastic. Many price lists still mark these cards as "reserved" or "expected". It happens even though the price for 7800 GT in Moscow is much higher than recommended by NVIDIA.

It's $449. Multiple tests in different laboratories revealed that the 7800 GT is a very interesting and even beneficial product (of course, unless local retailers raise the prices too high). So we proceed with our reviews of production-line cards on this GPU. Today our lab got hold of a video card with increased frequencies, so its title includes Extreme suffix. I guess it will be very interesting to examine it. However, our previous 3Digest includes performance results of this very card, our readers may have already formed an impression of this product. So we are not going to carry out separate tests - there is no point in them, I'll just publish 3Digest results at the end of the article.

Besides the 7800 GT, we also got interested in another product from Leadtek. Many readers are sure to remember the attempt made by Gigabyte and ASUSTeK to launch a single card with two GPUs working in SLI mode. First of all, it had to do with GeForce 6600 GT - the easiest solution (128bit bus in a separate card based on this processor, 128 MB in a standard modification). Much later manufacturers tried to launch twin 6800 GT/Ultra cards on a single PCB.

Leadtek also launched a similar product based on two 6600GT cards on a single PCB. The advantage of this product is that it can operate with any motherboard supporting SLI (there are no manufacturer restrictions, unlike the product from Gigabyte). Besides, this card operates at higher frequencies than GeForce 6600GT. Whether the 6600GT SLI is really necessary, especially in the form of a single card, will be reviewed later.

So, while all 3D accelerator fans are waiting for ATI's move (the new R520/RV5xx line), we are going to review what we already have available on the market. Go on reviewing, to be more exact.

Video Cards



Leadtek WinFast PX7800GT TDH myVIVO Extreme 256MB
Interface: PCI-Express x16

Frequencies (chip/memory — physical (memory — effective): 450/525 (1050) MHz (nominal - 400/500 (1000) MHz)

Memory bus width: 256bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 7

Number of pixel pipelines: 20

Dimensions: 200x100x15mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: green.

Output connectors: 2xDVI, S-Video.

VIVO: available (Philips 7115)

TV-out: integrated into GPU.




Leadtek WinFast Duo PX6600GT TDH Extreme 256MB
Interface: PCI-Express x16 (2xPCI-Express x8 inside)

Frequencies (chip/memory — physical (memory — effective): 525/560 (1120) MHz (nominal - 500/500 (1000) MHz)

Memory bus width: 2x128bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 2x3

Number of pixel pipelines: 2x8

Dimensions: 220x100x15mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: green.

Output connectors: 2xDVI, S-Video (plus 2 x d-Sub via an additional bracket, if SLI is not activated).

VIVO: not available

TV-out: integrated into GPU.






Leadtek WinFast PX7800GT TDH myVIVO Extreme 256MB
The video card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in eight chips on the front side of the PCB.

Infineon memory chips. 2.0ns memory access time, which corresponds to 500 (1000) MHz.




Leadtek WinFast Duo PX6600GT TDH Extreme 256MB
The video card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in eight chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips. 1.6ns memory access time, which corresponds to 625 (1250) MHz.






Comparison with the reference design, front view
Leadtek WinFast PX7800GT TDH myVIVO Extreme 256MB
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT
Leadtek WinFast Duo PX6600GT TDH Extreme 256MB
Gigabyte 3D1


Comparison with the reference design, back view
Leadtek WinFast PX7800GT TDH myVIVO Extreme 256MB
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT
Leadtek WinFast Duo PX6600GT TDH Extreme 256MB
Gigabyte 3D1


While the Leadtek product on the 7800 GT is crystal clear (it's a copy of the reference design, so there is nothing to add), the product based on 6600GT SLI is just unique. In this case, there is no reference design as such, so we can compare only products from different companies. Leadtek engineers obviously created their own design, quite convenient and even compact. Actually, it differs from the 3D1 only in its memory chips, not rotated 45°, but arranged in a usual way.

It must be noted that Leadtek WinFast Duo PX6600GT TDH Extreme 256MB allows not only outputting video in SLI mode to two monitors. If you don't need SLI, you can also output video to 4 monitors, using two additional connectors.



Leadtek WinFast PX7800GT TDH myVIVO Extreme 256MB

The cooling system was thoroughly examined in the base article about G70. I will just remind you that the central heatsink is connected with a heat pipe to the memory heatsink. Let's proceed. The device is very narrow, it occupies one slot only, which is good news. On the whole, the cooler is very quiet. Only the first seconds after startup are a tad noisy because of the high rpms of the turbine. You can evaluate the noise in this video clip (1.5MB, WMV) This model differs from the 7800 GTX cooler by a shorter heatsink. A copper plate is installed where is touches the die.







Leadtek WinFast Duo PX6600GT TDH Extreme 256MB

Unlike the solution from Gigabyte, this one uses a single-fan cooler. Quite effective at that. There is also no noise - a great advantage. It works in a simple way: the fan drives the air along a long heatsink and cools both GPUs.









These are our heroes, work-horses, which pipelines work like gears animating 3D games. That is processors. The first one is GeForce 7800 GT, the second - 6600GT. However, designations are self explanatory.








Bundle

Leadtek WinFast PX7800GT TDH myVIVO Extreme 256MB
User's manual, two DVI-to-d-Sub adapters, HDTV/VIVO adapter, CDs with drivers and utilities, two modern games (one of them is SCCT, one of the latest), VIVO software.


Leadtek WinFast Duo PX6600GT TDH Extreme 256MB
User's manual, two DVI-to-d-Sub adapters, HDTV/VideoOut adapter, the same software bundle, except for VIVO utilities. The bundle also includes a bracket with two VGA jacks (d-Sub), connected to a card, if you don't need SLI mode, but 4-monitor-output instead.




Box.

Leadtek WinFast PX7800GT TDH myVIVO Extreme 256MB

The box is made of thick cardboard with sections inside to avoid dangling elements. The design is absolutely new! Designers abandoned fairy characters, and the design has become absolutely new.




Leadtek WinFast Duo PX6600GT TDH Extreme 256MB

As the 6600GT formally belongs to products of the previous generation, the box design is the same, with fairy characters on the front. The box quality is the same as in the previous case. I also want to note that a label on the box runs 550 MHz, while the real core frequency is 525 MHz.






Installation and Drivers

Testbed configurations:

  • Athlon 64 (939Socket) based computer
    • CPU: AMD Athlon 4000+ (2400MHz) (L2=1024K)
    • Motherboard: ASUS A8N SLI Deluxe based on NVIDIA nForce4 SLI
    • RAM: 1 GB DDR SDRAM 400MHz (CAS (tCL)=2.5; RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)=3; Row Precharge (tRP)=3; tRAS=6)
    • HDD: WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA

  • Operating system: Windows XP SP2 DirectX 9.0c
  • Monitors: ViewSonic P810 (21") and Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2070sb (21").
  • ATI drivers 6.553 (CATALYST 5.7) NVIDIA drivers 77.77.

VSync is disabled.

As is well known, Leadtek cards come shipped with a proprietary utility WinFox, which can overclock cards as well as monitor their status. It's interesting to note that out of the entire set of parameters, the 7800GT supports nothing except the core temperature. The utility shows the core architecture and... it makes absolutely the same mistake as RivaTuner beta - it shows that the memory type is SDR instead of DDR3. Something tells me that this is not a coincidence, Leadtek programmers obviously used RT.







And here is what WinFox shows about the 2x6600GT. I again draw your attention to the box label running that the core frequency is 550 MHz, while it's just 525 MHz.




Besides working directly with a video card, WinFox includes a module that shows the load of memory, video memory, and CPU, as well as information about drivers, monitor, etc.







Test results: performance comparison

We used the following test applications:

  • Half-Life2 (Valve/Sierra) — DirectX 9.0, demo (ixbt01, ixbt02, ixbt03 The tests were carried out with maximum quality, option -dxlevel 90, presets for video card types are removed from dxsupport.cfg.

  • FarCry 1.3 (Crytek/UbiSoft), DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, 3 demo from Research, Pier, Regulator levels (-DEVMODE startup option), Very High test settings.

  • DOOM III (id Software/Activision) — OpenGL, multitexturing, test settings — High Quality (ANIS8x), demo ixbt1 (33MB!). We have a sample batch file to start the game automatically with increased speed and reduced jerking (precaching) d3auto.rar. (DO NOT BE AFRAID of the black screen after the first menu, that's how it should be! It will last 5-10 seconds and then the demo should start)

  • 3DMark05 (FutureMark) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, test settings — trilinear,

  • F.E.A.R. (Multiplayer beta) (Monolith/Sierra) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, Maximum test settings, Soft shadows.

  • Splinter Cell Chaos of Theory v.1.04 (Ubisoft) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, maximum test settings, shaders 3.0 (for NVIDIA cards)/shaders 2.0 (for ATI cards); HDR OFF!

  • The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay (Starbreeze/Vivendi) — OpenGL, multitexturing, test settings — maximum texture quality, Shader 2.0, demo 44 and demo ducche.

    I wish to thank Rinat Dosayev (AKA 4uckall) and Alexei Ostrovski (AKA Ducche), who have created a demo for this game. I also want to thank Alexei Berillo AKA Somebody Else for his help




Performance ratings illustrate that the 7800GT from Leadtek is quite advantageous. With its price about $500, it eclipses the previous 3D leader - X850XT PE in the majority of tests. To say nothing of the fact that the 7800GT possesses all the latest innovations in 3D technologies (DirectX 9.0c at full swing).




Despite some drawbacks, this card at a similar price with the X800 XL (these cards are not available in Russia so far) demonstrates very good results. Of course, there are reasons to buy this accelerator only if you need outputting video to multiple monitors (with disabled SLI) or obtain good 3D performance (with enabled SLI). Otherwise, you'd better buy a 6800GT, which price is rapidly dropping.

Conclusions

Leadtek WinFast PX7800GT TDH myVIVO Extreme 256MB is an excellent product. This video card works off 100%, possessing everything necessary today for the most exacting 3D games and offering a good compromise between performance and price. This sample demonstrated excellent 2D quality (I'm still sure that Leadtek cards have been the best cards in this respect for a long time), the card operated brilliantly. I didn't analyze overclocking, as I was pressed for time. It must be added that the cooler can now be controlled via RivaTuner 15.7, so there are no problems with noise at all.

Leadtek WinFast Duo PX6600GT TDH Extreme 256MB is an interesting product. It most likely represents a proud display of Leadtek engineers - look what we can do. Practical use of this card is more unassuming: only if you need video output to four monitors plus good 3D performance in SLI mode. And you shouldn't forget that such cards need a motherboard supporting SLI, thus it will still have two PCI-E x16 slots. There is a reason to buy this Leadtek product (I mean this video card) only if its price is below the total price of two 6600GT Extreme cards (keep in mind the increased frequencies in this card). I repeat that the box label points out the core frequency of 550 MHz, while it's actually 525. 2D quality is OK, it's up to the mark.



You can find more detailed comparisons of various video cards in our 3Digest.










Theoretical materials and reviews of video cards, which concern functional properties of the GPU ATI RADEON X800 (R420)/X850 (R480)/X700 (RV410) and NVIDIA GeForce 6800 (NV40/45)/6600 (NV43)





Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)

October 27, 2005.



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